June 10th to June 13th: Welcome and Introductions

Reading: None

You will understand Nouwen more deeply after you read Earnshaw.
 A new and wonderful contribution.
– Ron Rolheiser, OMI

A warm welcome to the Summer 2020 edition of the Henri Nouwen Society online book discussion. If you are a regular participant, welcome back. And if you are joining us for the first time, we’re glad you’re here. For the past decade, a caring community of believers and seekers has gathered each Advent and Lent to read and reflect on the writing of Henri Nouwen and to share our experiences, insights, and questions with each other. This year is our first summer book discussion since 2015 and we are excited to be back. It is also the first time that we will be discussing a book written by someone other than Henri Nouwen.

This past Lent we completed a deep and fruitful discussion of Henri’s best-selling book, The Return of the Prodigal Son – A Story of Homecoming. This summer we have the unique opportunity to go behind the scenes to discover how this spiritual masterpiece came to be written through the eyes of Gabrielle Earnshaw Nouwen scholar, founding archivist of Henri J. M. Nouwen Archives at the University of St. Michael’s College, Chief Archivist for the Henri Nouwen Legacy Trust, and editor of three recent Henri Nouwen books.

In Gabrielle’s new book, Henri Nouwen and The Return of the Prodigal Son: The Making of a Spiritual Classic, she expertly and insightfully explores and illuminates the interweaved stories of Nouwen’s spiritual journey and how the book came to be published nine-years after he first saw a poster of Rembrandt’s painting The Return of the Prodigal Son in 1983. Gabrielle adds depth, color, and substantial new detail to what Nouwen himself has written about the writing of The Return. . . Through her insights we may come to see why Nouwen’s The Return of the Prodigal Son is, in Gabrielle’s words, “a book that readers find when they need it—usually when they are on their knees. It is also one of those rare books that reveals something new with each reading.” I know that is true for me, as my brief biography below attests.

Let’s briefly describe how our online book discussion works. If you’ve joined us before, this will serve as a review.

Beginning on June 14th and for five consecutive Sundays, a new entry or post will be added to the book discussion (the blog) home page. The post will present a brief moderator’s reflection and suggest some questions for discussion. Participants are encouraged to comment on the post by responding to the suggested questions, by sharing their own reflections, and by replying to the comments of others.

To read the comments or to leave a comment of your own,  scroll down to the bottom of the post.  If you don’t see any comments, click on the small link at the bottom that says
## Comments.  To leave a new comment, continue scrolling down and use the “Leave a Reply” box.  To reply to someone else’s comment, click the Reply link directly below their comment and complete the box.  After you submit a new comment or a reply, either the moderator (me) or Will at the Nouwen Society need to “approve” it, so it may take a few hours before it actually appears on the blog page. The instructions on how to submit and reply to comments are also included at the bottom of the Reading Schedule (follow link in the black bar above). If you have any questions about the blog, please don’t hesitate to ask either by submitting a comment or sending me an email at the address in my bio below.

As we begin our journey together, it’s always nice to learn a little bit about each of you. Over the next few days you are encouraged to introduce yourself. You may choose to share:

  • Your general geographic location.
  • To whom or what you dedicate your days or energy, and why.
  • How you came to “know/read” Henri Nouwen and whether or not you participated in a previous discussion.
  • What you hope to experience during this discussion.

We begin Henri Nouwen & The Return of the Prodigal Son – The Making of a Spiritual Classic this Sunday, June 14th.  Join us to begin a spirit-filled and enriching summer journey.

In gratitude,

RAY GLENNON: Ray came to know and trust Henri’s written word in a special way in 2004 when he discovered The Return of the Prodigal Son for sale after Mass in Singapore. He began participating in Henri Nouwen Society book discussions in 2010 and has served as a moderator since 2014. He developed and led a six-week adult education course on “Henri Nouwen and A Spirituality of Living.” Ray volunteers in his parish Confirmation program and other ministries. He and his wife are candidates in the Secular Franciscan Order (OFS). You may contact Ray by email at ray.glennon@1972.usna.com and you can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/@RayGlennon.